‘Foam free’: Florida Department of Agriculture aims to eliminate polystyrene by end of decade

In this Feb. 14, 2013, file photo, a Dunkin' Donuts' foam cup is discarded in a trash bin in New York. Dunkin' Donuts said Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, that the polystyrene foam cups will be completely phased out from all its stores globally by 2020.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services this week announced its continued plan to eliminate polystyrene food packaging and become “foam free Florida.”

“It is our vision to begin a phased-out reduction of the amount of polyester food packaging that can be used until we reach a zero within this decade,” Commissioner Nikki Fried said during a news conference.

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See the news conference below:

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The department has already started its rule-making process to phase out the use of polystyrene at over 40,000 grocery stores, markets, convenience stores and businesses it regulates.

Fried said there is no data on how polystyrene food packaging is being used in Florida businesses. The department wants entities it regulates to begin reporting the amount of polystyrene sold and distributed each year.

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Fried said using Florida-grown crops to make new packaging and help eliminate polystyrene would result in more jobs for the state.

Polystyrene has “hidden dangers” that have been linked to cancer, vision and hearing loss, birth defects, kidney and liver damage and more, Fried said.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.